The 20 Model Battalion of the Nigeria Army in Serti, Taraba State, said it has discovered an illegal security training camp in Serti.
The Commanding Officer of the battalion, Lt. Col. Sani Adamu, stated this yesterday in Serti.
Sani told the News Agency of Nigeria that the Special Adviser on Security to Taraba State Governor, Col. Agyo Wapan (retd.), had been invited as part of investigation into the discovery.
He said the discovery followed calls by concerned citizens who disclosed that no fewer than 300 youths were being trained in a public primary school in the area.
He said on receipt of the calls, he promptly responded by visiting the site and found over 300 young men undergoing military training.
The commander said the training was being conducted by GS Security Services, a security outfit in the state.
He said he had filed a report to his superior on the development, while he awaited directive from the army headquarters.
The security outfit is allegedly hired by the Taraba Government to train selected youths as ‘Marshals’.
Sani explained that his men had profiled the young men and dismantled the camp, while awaiting directive from the army headquarters.
The alarm on the illegal training camp was sequel to an unusual influx young men, in their hundreds, from some local government areas into Serti, which is the headquarters of Gashaka Local Government Area.
A resident of the area, Abubakar Mohammed, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they raised the alarm because of the frequent clashes of youths who were commonly used by desperate politicians to hunt their enemies.
“We suspect that the state government is training them, under whatever guise, to use them to disrupt the election process in 2019,” he said.
When contacted, the Chairman of Gashaka Local Government Area, Umar Mohammed, explained that the training was at the instance of the state government.
He said 10 youths were selected from each ward to be trained as marshals who would subsequently be deployed to provide security in their areas.
Mohammed said before the exercise, the military, police and the Department of State Services were invited to a security meeting where the issues of uniform and other kitting for the marshals were agreed on.
He said those being trained in Serti were recruited from Sardauna and Gashaka areas “with the full knowledge of stakeholders in each ward.”